Oral history interview with Kurt Wüthrich

  • 2004-Mar-09

Kurt Wüthrich begins his interview by discussing the emergence of his interest in chemistry during his high school years, where a highly qualified group of professors taught him. He originally intended to become a sports instructor and received a degree equivalent to an MS in sports at the University of Basel. However, he remained interested in the sciences and divided his time between sports, physics, and chemistry, and in March 1964 he received his PhD in chemistry, doing research with an electron paramagnetic resonance spectrometer (EPR) to study the catalytic action of metal compounds. After receiving his PhD in Basel, he traveled to the University of California, Berkeley, to do his postdoctoral research in nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. He was then offered a position in Bell Telephone Laboratories Biophysics Department and, in 1969, he traveled back to Switzerland to work at Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich, were he continued his research, rising through the ranks from Privatdozent to Chairman of the Biology Department. He concludes his interview by discussing his continued research in nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy as a Professor of Biophysics at ETH Zürich and a Professor of Structural Biology at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California.

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